Three firearms recovered in PE
Three stolen firearms were recovered and two brothers, believed to be in South Africa illegally, arrested during raids in Bethelsdorp on Monday night.
The firearms, all pistols, were found in separate incidents in the northern areas after police received tip-offs.
Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the first firearm was found at the Greenfields Spaza shop in Bethelsdorp, after a tip off regarding a stolen firearm.
“The information received led police to the spaza shop at about 9pm on Monday. When police arrived, the officers tired to get into the shop but the door was locked. The police then heard three shots inside and forced the door open,” she said.
“Inside the shop, the 30-year-old foreign shop owner was arrested and a search of the store led to police finding a pistol hidden in a box full of chip packets. The man was alone inside the shop at the time.”
No one was injured during the shooting and police did not return fire.
Janse van Resnburg said while on the scene, a bakkie arrived and reversed into the parked police vehicle.
“The 35-year-old driver of the bakkie, who claims to be the brother of the shop owner, was then arrested after another firearm was found inside his bakkie. The firearm was found hidden under the drivers seat,” she said.
The firearm found inside the shop has no record on the police database while the firearm inside the vehicle had its serial number filed off.
By 11pm, another tip-off was received of a firearm hidden in the open field bordering Ganger Street.
“A search was done of the field and another firearm recovered lying between rubbish in the field," she said.
Janse van Rensburg said all the weapons had been sent to the ballistic unit to ascertain where they were stolen and if they were used in other crimes.
Asked how the serial number of the one firearm is not logged on the police database, Janse van Rensburg said it was possibly smuggled into South Africa illegally or stolen before it could be registered on the police systems.
“Both men face additional charges [to illegal possession of a firearm] under the Immigration Act and are believed to be illegal in the country.”
Both brothers are due to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates court on Tuesday.